Juanita Clementine Nikel, 93, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.
Juanita was born on the banks of the San Saba River in San Saba on Jan. 8, 1926 to William D. Kelley and Bessie (Turner) Kelley. She was the third child of five children. At the young age of 17, she left San Saba and headed to Dallas to work for Neiman Marcus then to Houston. She later ventured to Flatonia where she opened her own cafe and met the love of her life, Max Nikel Sr. Max and Juanita were married on March 23, 1946 in Moulton. Juanita sold her cafe to buy their first truck to start their own trucking business. Soon after, they started a family of three children, Carolyn Nikel, Max Nikel Jr., and Belinda (Nikel) Richter.
Juanita spent most of her time as the “rock” of the family, taking care of children, grandchildren, and other family members. Some of her favorite pastime activities were numerous trips to Vegas with friends, working in the yard, and most of all, bingo every night. During any given Christmas, it was typical to find Santa Claus waving to all the little girls and boys outside her living room window. In her later years, she enjoyed watching the Houston Astros and San Antonio Spurs.
Surviving her are her children, Carolyn Nikel of Flatonia, Max Nikel Jr. and wife Anita of Shiner, and Belinda (Nikel) Richter of Flatonia; Juanita’s sister, Linda (Kelley) Huser of Schulenburg; and sister-in-law, Maxine Vyvjala of Schulenburg. Her grandchildren include Brenda (Merecka) Rodriguez and husband Fred of Cypress, Rhonda (Merecka) Williams and husband Rodney of Cibolo, Kevin Nikel of Weimar, Mandy (Nikel) Adams and husband Bill of Fulshear, April (Richter) Shelnutt and husband Jason of Seguin, Misty Nikel of Katy, and Ashley (Richter) Lamon and husband Joey of Castroville. Great-grandchildren include Victoria and Brent Wright of Cypress; Logan Doneske of Katy; Keely, Kaden and Kamryn Williams of Cibolo; Alison and Jemma Shelnutt of Seguin; Victoria, Katelynn, Rebecca and Patrick Lamon of Castroville; and Noah Adams of Fulshear.
Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Max Nikel Sr.; brothers, Doyle and Leeman Kelley; sister, Billie Kelley; daughter-in-law, Liz Mendel; son-in-law, Edward Richter; and grandson, Brent Merecka.
Named to serve as pallbearers were Fred Rodriguez, Brent Wright, Rodney Williams, Kaden Williams, Jason Shelnutt, Joey Lamon, Darrell Vyvjala and Kevin Nikel. Named as honorary pallbearers were Billy Don Kelley, Larry Kelley and Logan Doneske.
Visitation began at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Rosary was set for Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Flatonia, followed by Funeral Mass starting at 11 a.m. with Fr. Eddie Winkler officiating and burial at the Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Flatonia.
Words of comfort can be sent to the family online at the funeral home website, www.smithfuneralhomemoulton.com. Arrangements entrusted to Smith Funeral Home of Moulton, 361-596-4631.